Steve Spagnuolo: Tom Coughlin deserves to be in Hall of Fame
Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been around the NFL block a few times as both a head coach and an assistant.
This Sunday, Spagnuolo will be coaching in a fifth Super Bowl and fourth under head coach Andy Reid. Spags, as he is known, first reached the big game back in 2004 as the linebackers coach for Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles.
Philadelphia fell to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, 24-21, that year in Jacksonville. But Spags caught the eye of New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who poached him from Philly in 2007 to become the Giants’ defensive coordinator.
In his first season as Giants’ DC, Spagnuolo’s unit led Big Blue all the way back to the Super Bowl where this time, he beat the Patriots, 17-14, ending New England’s quest for an undefeated season.
After the Giants, Spags would bounce around the league, first as the head coach of the pitiful St. Louis Rams and then made stops in New Orleans, Baltimore, and the Giants again before returning with Reid in Kansas City, where they have won three AFC Championships and another Super Bowl together.
Reid is certainly headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but Spagnuolo believes Coughlin should also be enshrined in Canton.
“How fortunate am I to have worked with two Hall of Famers?” Spagnuolo said in his Media Day interview on Monday. “They’ll both be in the Hall of Fame — if they’re not, something’s wrong. It can’t get any better for me. Who would’ve thought a short, white guy from Grafton, Massachusetts, would work for two Hall of Fame head coaches and go to a few Super Bowls and experience a couple of wins? I pinch myself a lot. I consider myself very, very fortunate.”
Of all of the Super Bowl experiences Spagnuolo has had, he rates his trip with the Giants the highest because the Patriots had “the greatest offense ever to have been put out there.”
“What the Patriots did — going undefeated, Tom Brady, Moss, the whole matchup — that was a pretty big challenge. I’m not sure I’ve had to face that kind of challenge since then. Now, you get into a Super Bowl, and they’re all huge challenges. But that was a pretty special thing,” Spagnuolo said.
This Sunday, Spags faces one of his former teams in the high-powered Eagles, and revealed he and his wife still have a home there.
“We’ll always have ties there. Isn’t that funny? I still have a home there, and now we’re playing them in the Super Bowl. We spend a lot of time in the offseason — it’s Philadelphia, and it’s the Jersey Shore,” Spagnuolo said. “That part of the country is always going to be part of me. Wouldn’t you know, we played the Patriots in some Super Bowls. And now we’re playing the Eagles in some others. So, eastern guy.”
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